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The Spanish Verb Dejar: Its Many Meanings and Uses

In caption 8 of his electric press kit, Spanish artist Javier García uses the common Spanish verb dejar with the meaning "to leave": 

 

Tú me quieres dejar, y yo no quiero sufrir

You want to leave me, and I don't want to suffer

Caption 8, Javier García - EPK

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However, twelve captions later, we find the imperative form of the very same verb being sung to a different tune:

 

Deja de correr, tranquila 

Stop running, take it easy

Caption 20, Javier García - EPK

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How can the same verb mean such different things? Why, context, of course! Let's explore the many meanings and uses of the Spanish verb dejar.

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Dejar Meaning "To Leave"

One of the most common translations for the Spanish verb dejar is "to leave." However, just like the English verb "to leave," the Spanish verb dejar can describe many different types of "leaving." Let's take a look at several (ten, to be exact!) of the English meanings of the verb "to leave" and learn how to express these same ideas with dejar in Spanish.

 

"To Leave" as in "Abandon" or "Give Up"

The verb dejar in Spanish can mean "to abandon" or "give up" something. Let's take a look:

 

Si yo dejé mi departamento... -Ni se te ocurra.

If I left my apartment... -Don't even think about it.

Caption 14, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6

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"To Leave" as in "To Have an Effect"

Another meaning of the Spanish verb dejar is "to leave" something or someone in a particular state, for example, in the sentence La pelicula me dejó sin palabras (The movie left me speechless). Let's see another example: 

 

Esta rumba, yo te digo, que te deja por el suelo 

This rumba, I'm telling you, leaves you on the floor

Captions 1-2, Javier García - La Rumba

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"To Leave" as in "To Put" or "Place"

The verb dejar can additionally mean "to leave" in the sense of putting or placing something somewhere:

 

He dejado la bolsa enfrente a un niño. 

I have left the bag in front of a little boy.

Caption 52, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 1

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"To Leave" as in "To Forget"

However, since we may not have "put" or "placed" that something in that particular place on purpose, the Spanish verb dejar is often used to say we "forgot" something:

 

¿Dónde dejé mi billetera? -No se preocupe. 

Where did I leave my wallet? -Don't worry about it.

Caption 19, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 5

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"To Leave" as in "Allow to Remain"

In English, we can "leave something" in a particular state or location, whether permanently or temporarily, and the Spanish verb dejar expresses this same idea. You might say, Yo voy a dejar mi pelo así (I'm going to leave my hair like this) or the following, both of which could be replaced with "to allow to remain":

 

Deja los garbanzos en el agua hirviendo aproximadamente media hora.

Leave the chickpeas in the boiling water for approximately half an hour.

Captions 65-66, El Aula Azul Receta de garbanzos

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To Leave as in "Drop Off"

Dejar in Spanish can also mean to "leave" someone or something somewhere in the sense of "dropping off" that person or thing:

 

¿Pero si me acabas de dejar, no? 

But you just dropped me off, right?

Caption 38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 7

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"To Leave" as in "To Leave To"

Yet another meaning of the verb dejar in Spanish is "to leave" as in "bequeathing" someone to someone.

 

tú tenías como algún tipo de auxilio, ¿un... un tipo de pensión que tus padres te dejaron

you had like some kind of help, a... a kind of pension that your parents left you?

Captions 40-41, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 4

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"To Leave" as in "Leave Alone" or "Let Be"

On its own or within idioms, the verb dejar in Spanish can mean "to leave alone." Let's  start with an example with just the verb dejar:

 

Déjelo, ¿o le gustaría que le hiciera lo mismo?

Leave him alone, or would you like me to do the same thing to you?

Caption 48, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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A couple of idioms that also mean to "leave alone" are dejar en paz (literally "leave in peace") or the more literal dejar solo. Let's hear them in context:

 

¿Por qué no me dejás en paz?

Why don't you leave me alone?

Caption 58, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 12

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Dejame solo, tía. Por favor.

Leave me alone, Auntie. Please.

Caption 24, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 5

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"To Leave" as in "To Break up With"

The Spanish verb dejar can also mean "to leave" in the sense of "breaking up with," or "walking out on" someone. Let's take a look:

 

¿Qué pasa si la dejo a Andrea? 

What if I leave Andrea?

Caption 104, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 10

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"To Leave" as in "To Let Go" or "Say Goodbye"

And finally (in this section!), you might notice that on the phone, Spanish speakers often say, "Bueno, te dejo" or something similar, which corresponds to the English, "I'll let you go." You might also notice this in many videos from our Yabla Spanish library:

 

de momento aquí os dejo

for now, I'll leave you here.

Caption 54, Amaya La historia de Lukas

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Additional Meanings of Dejar

In addition to the plethora of nuanced ways in which the Spanish verb dejar can be used to talk about "leaving," it can also have several additional translations. Let's explore some!

 

Dejar Meaning "To Let," "Permit," or "Allow"

If you wish to give someone permission to do something, you might use the Spanish verb dejar, which can also mean "to let," "permit" or "allow."

 

Siempre me dejaban hacer lo que quise. 

They always allowed me to do whatever I wanted.

Caption 8, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 3

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Esperá, no me dejaste terminar.

Wait, you didn't let me finish.

Caption 37, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 7

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Dejar meaning "To Stop" or "Quit"

Dejar can additionally describe ceasing to do something temporarily or permanently, and the formula for using it in this context is dejar + de + infinitive. This gives us the equivalent of "stopping" or "quitting" an action depicted by the gerund, or "-ing," form in English. Let's take a look. 

 

Pues que este señor dejó de trabajar

Well, this gentleman stopped working.

Caption 17, Málaga Lourdes y la espartería en Mijas Pueblo

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Y tú, deja de sonreír, ¡que también es culpa tuya!

And you, quit smiling because it's your fault too!

Caption 37, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 4

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Dejar Meaning "To Lend"

Perhaps a lesser-known meaning of the verb dejar in Spanish is "to lend":

 

Lola, ¿puedes dejarme algo de ropa? 

Lola, can you lend me some clothes?

Caption 9, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 3

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Dejar Meaning "To Drop"

And finally, the verb dejar in Spanish can also mean "to drop" as in a topic, as in the expression "Déjalo" (Drop it). This is sort of an intersection of dejar meaning "to stop" (talking about something) and "to leave" since "Dejémoslo ahí," for example, can sometimes be translated as "Let's leave it there," as in the following caption:

 

Dejémoslo ahí.

Let's leave it there.

Caption 62, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 5

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The Reflexive Verb Dejarse

Let's conclude our lesson on the many uses of the Spanish verb dejar by mentioning its reflexive form, dejarse. The reflexive verb dejarse is used in two main ways. 

 

Dejarse Meaning "To Let Oneself Go" 

This not-very-flattering use of the Spanish verb dejar is used to describe someone who neglects their health or appearance.

 

Juan realmente se dejó después de casarse y ha subido más de cincuenta libras. 

Juan really let himself go after getting married and has gained more than fifty pounds. 

 

Dejarse Meaning "To Allow Oneself" (To Do Something)

The reflexive verb dejarse + infinitive is used to describe something one "allows him or herself" to experience, which could be negative or positive and is usually translated with "to be" or "to get" plus an English verb in the past participle (typically ending in -ed or -en). Let's see a couple of examples:

 

no se dejó influenciar por intereses personales, ni por presiones mediáticas en las que se ha visto envuelta últimamente.

she didn't allow herself to be influenced by personal interests or the media pressure she's been embroiled in lately.

Captions 7-8, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 3 - Part 4

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Mm... Déjate llevar al paraíso.

Mm... Let yourself get carried away to paradise.

Caption 40, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella - Part 2

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With all of that said, te dejamos por hoy (we'll leave you/say goodbye for today). We hope that this lesson te haya dejado (has left you) with a better understanding of the many meanings of the Spanish verb dejar, and for further explanation and examples, be sure to check out the videos Significados del verbo dejar (Meanings of the Verb Dejar)- Part 1 and Significados del verbo dejar- Part 2. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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15 Professions in Spanish That You Should Know

Do you know how to say the names of professions in Spanish? Do you know the Spanish words for professions such as 'lawyer' or 'journalist'? Today, we will talk about job titles and professions in Spanish so get ready to see how to write and pronounce some of the most common occupations out there. However, before we jump into our list of professions in Spanish, let's see how to ask a very basic question when it comes to jobs. 

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"What do you do?" in Spanish

When we want to find out what someone does for a living, we usually use questions like: what do you do for work?, what do you do for a living? or simply, what do you do? There are also different options in Spanish:

 

¿A qué te dedicas?

What do you do?

Soy profesor de fotografía.

I'm a photography teacher.

Captions 12-13, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

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Oye, y ¿en qué trabajas?

Hey, and what do you do [for a living]?

Estoy trabajando actualmente en una firma de abogados.

I'm working currently at a law firm.

Captions 82-83, Ricardo - La compañera de casa

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Ahora, ¿y qué haces tú?

Now, what do you do?

Bueno, yo soy mecánico.

Well, I'm a mechanic.

Captions 18-19, Encuentro Volkswagen en Adícora - Escarabajos en la playa

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You can also use that kind of question even if you are a student:

 

Bueno, Cristina, ¿tú a qué te dedicas?

Well, Cristina, what do you do for a living?

Estoy estudiando en Sevilla.

I am studying in Seville.

Captions 60-62, Clara y Cristina - Saludar

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Common professions in Spanish (masculine and feminine)

Now, let's take a look at some of the most common professions in Spanish. Remember to listen to the audioclips so you can hear how to pronounce the word. Also, keep in mind that the names of most professions change with the gender so make sure to take a look at the rules that we will mention about that.

 

Rule 1 - Professions ending in o and a

When the masculine noun ends in o, the feminine noun ends in a. There are several professions in Spanish that fall into this group:

 

1. El abogado | La abogada (The lawyer)

Es un abogado joven que recién se está metiendo en la política.

He's a young lawyer who has recently been getting involved in politics.

Caption 57, Muñeca Brava - 45 El secreto

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2. El arquitecto | La arquitecta (The architect)

Bueno, yo soy Leif, eh... soy arquitecto y llevo trabajando en Londres cuatro años.

Well, I am Leif, um... I am an architect and have been working in London for four years.

Captions 2-3, Leif - El Arquitecto Español y su Arte

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3. El cajero | La cajera (The cashier)

4. El carpintero | La carpintera (The carpenter)

5. El ingeniero | La ingeniera (The engineer)6

6. El psicólogo | La piscóloga (The psychologist)

 

Rule 2 - Professions ending in a consonant

When the noun ends in a consonant, you just need to add an a at the end to form the feminine noun.

 

7. El administrador | La administradora (The administrator)

Pero si quiere, yo con mucho gusto hablo con el administrador para que nos ayude.

But if you want, I'll gladly talk to the administrator so he can help us.

Captions 16-17, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3

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8. El director | La directora (The director)

9. El editor | La editora (The editor)

 

10. El doctor | La doctora (The doctor)

Consultorio de la doctora Castaño, buenos días.

Doctor Castaño's office, good morning.

Caption 5, Cita médica - La cita médica de Cleer

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If you take the previous 3 nouns, you can see that there are various nouns ending in 'or' that are identical in English and Spanish.

 

11. El escritor | La escritora (The writer)

 

12. El profesor | La profesora (The teacher)

Yo soy profesora de español.

I am a Spanish teacher.

Caption 12, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

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Rule 3 - Professions ending in -ista, -ia and -e

There are also some nouns that end in -ista, -ia and -e, that stay them same for both male and female. However, in order to make the distinction, you need to change the article accordingly. Let's see some examples:

 

13. El estudiante | La estudiante (The student)

 

14. El dentista | la dentista (The dentist)

Por ejemplo: el estudiante, la estudiante. El dentista, la dentista.

For example: the male student, the female student. The male dentist, the female dentist.

Captions 32-33, Isabel - El Género Gramatical - Masculino y Femenino

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15. El periodista | La periodista (The journalist)

"El periodista escribe el artículo para el periódico".

"The journalist writes the article for the newspaper."

Caption 22, Lecciones con Carolina La voz pasiva - Part 3

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List of professions and occupations in English and Spanish

Before we go, let's take a look at the following list of professions in Spanish so you can have a handy reference for this topic.

 

1. The administrator: El administrador | La administradora

2. The architect: El arquitecto | La arquitecta

3. The cashier: El cajero | La cajera

4. The carpenter: El carpintero | La carpintera

5. The dentist: El dentista | la dentista

6. The director: El director | La directora

7. The doctor: El doctor | La doctora

8. The editor: El editor | La editora

9. The engineer: El ingeniero | La ingeniera

10. The journalist: El periodista | La periodista

11. The lawyer: El abogado | La abogada

12. The psychologist: El psicólogo | La piscóloga

13. The student: El estudiante | La estudiante

14. The teacher: El profesor | La profesora

15. The writer: El escritor | La escritora  

 

That's it for today. We know there are hundreds of more occupations and job titles out there. However, we hope this lesson will help you to remember the names of some of the most well-known professions in Spanish. That being said, we would like to invite you to find 10 professions more in our library of videos, and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

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